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Trying to make sense of it all

As the dust settles on September 1st 2008, we are perhaps now just coming to terms with the momentous changes that the club underwent in the space of less than 24 hours.

Thaksin gone, mega-rich owners in and then the 'blockbuster' signing promised all summer heralded a new dawn in every sense for City.

In the ensuing days, plenty has been written and speculated, but central to it all appears to be two issues - the financial muscle the club now has and that the whole fabric of the club has altered now the Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG) has gained control.

Ultimately, I don't think any of us will bemoan Thaksin's departure (whoever came in) - with the kindest words being said he did the decent thing in selling up. The whiff of scandal was always around which made the situation of him in charge an uncomfortable one, but once it appeared the charges were going to stick (not to mention the vast reserves of money were not available) his being in charge was a more unpalatable prospect as time grew on.

Thankfully, the new owners do not appear to have skeletons in the closet. But what they do have is cash, and pots of it. When your new owners have the financial capability to blow any other club in the world away it is a dizzying prospect indeed.

We have already seen evidence of their intentions, in stating their desire for success and also the bids slapped in for Berbatov, Gomes and Villa, and of course, the ultimate capture of Robinho for a new record of £32.5 million.

There has been plenty of outlandish comments and claims also appearing, and what it has done is changed the focus and outlook of the club. The Abramovich era at Chelsea has not met with universal approval with many of the 'old guard' complaining of the club having sold out and being unrecognisable from the club they once knew.

This is all true of course and the landscape inevitably has changed. Personally, and not just at City, I am uneasy in some ways that football clubs can just be snapped up on a whim by foreign billionaires and operated with such huge debts, but the reality is football has ceased from being a game to being a business some time ago, and now clubs are being run along the same lines as multi-national corporations (which they effectively now aware). The days of millionaires owning Premier League clubs is fast becoming a thing of the past, and to now be on a level playing field in terms of competing is a stunning position to be in.

We know this will led to changes as success is hunted at a relentless pace. As happy as Mark Hughes must be with recent events, the pressure levels on him have just been ratcheted up tenfold with Champions League surely having to be achieved by the 2009/10 season.

I hope though that there is a degree of patience and a realisation that we are still a way of Champions League status and there is not an insatiable demand for immediate success or to hell with the consequences.

Given that money is the driving force in football (and particularly for footballers), it is a heady prospect though as we all speculate on just who could be arriving at the club over the next 12 months. Henry, Fabregas, Torres, Ronaldo. They have all been mentioned by the new owners.

We know however from the recent experience of Real Madrid that simply throwing money at star names and then trying to fit them into a side does not always equate to success, and it will be important to see that a team is built as much as simply collecting superstars.

I don't doubt that success will ultimately be achieved as the new owners want something and they sure as hell are going all out for it. But could there be a price, and perhaps importantly, do we care?

The unlimited wealth of the new owners can now (theoretically at least) add any player at any cost, but could the knock on be astronomical increases in ticket prices, the freezing out of many fans to be replaced by a new wealthier breed?

Will the Academy players who have been nurtured so well at the club and developed into first team players be cast aside as the club stockpiles a bloated squad of costly players?

All possibilities it has to be said, and that City 'identity' so often spoken of could well become a thing of the past, but whilst the memory of 12 months ago is still fresh when we thought Thaksin heralded a new dawn, it really is hard to look at it in any way but positive with us now being on the cusp of a never before seen era for the club.

Ultimately football fans though want success. City fans more than most have been starved of it so given the opportunity to taste this success is something that will be grabbed with both hands - whatever the consequences.

Most will be still be getting our heads around just exactly what has happened this week, and trying to digest it all and contemplate what it will all mean. I popped down to the stadium (or Middle Eastlands?) at lunchtime yesterday and it was a hive of activity with plenty of queues at the ticket office and I don't doubt that the 'Full House' signs will be going up again soon enough as such a buzz and a lift has been created.

It is almost a pity that we have to now wait 10 days or so for the first game to come around, but what a build up there will be to it as we face off against Chelsea, the model I guess for what the new owners are looking to achieve.

There is no doubt though that this is a fantastic opportunity that has been presented, and one which I could never imagined the club benefiting from - and it puts the thoughts we had when Thaksin took over well into the shade as we now contemplate the very real prospect of ending the long and painful wait for a trophy.

Whatever happens, this new era is likely to be one hell of a ride, with so many positives to look forward to, and who knows how it will ultimately turn out.

But whilst we are on that ride, I guess we are going to just sit back and enjoy it whilst it lasts.